Christian models of public service

By Steve Farrell
web posted December 25, 1999

Christmas, we all know, is a time of giving; and well it should be. Christ, the heart of this holiday was a man whose life was service-centered. Whether as a teacher or a friend, a comforter or a healer, a reformer or a Prophet, or as the Son of God, the focus of his ministry was always the same. Never one of self glorification, but of selfless aid to others; never one of pride and self will, but of humble submission to the will of his Father.

His stated goal was to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of men, yet he demonstrated a lifestyle which would bring into our hearts and our homes a taste of that future Heaven while still here on Earth.

Remarkably, his life of service and sacrifice was rendered without pay as a free will offering to the human race. No one paid Christ a cent, though He paid with his life.

Not only did Christ reject the thought of a cash return, he also rejected the temptation of public praise. Indeed, this extraordinary man was magnificently quiet about his numberless good deeds. Repeatedly, the beneficiaries of his kind and miraculous acts were counseled to "tell no man," but rather to "glorify God."

He expected the same quiet selflessness from his disciples.

They were taught to prefer the lowest seat in the synagogue, to go door to door without purse, to retire to their closets to pray, and to give their alms (gifts) in secret. Power, prestige, and property, were not the aim of true service or gift giving.

Many have learned, and applied Christ's example, at Christmas, and throughout their lives. This being a political column, it is not inappropriate to acknowledge that even men in government have throughout the ages been moved to serve as Christ served.

A few examples from early American History:

We remember the myriad religious refugees who fled to America's untamed wilderness, abandoning security, station, honor, and family, for a chance to serve Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience.

We remember the Sons of Liberty, in 1776, who risked and forsook property for principle and life for liberty, so that future generations might live free.

We remember the Thomas Paines, who turned over all profits from his best seller "Common Sense," to the Revolution; the John Adams, who practiced law for free, to protest the British Stamp Act; and the George Washingtons who refused a General's pay, because to serve was honor enough.

And finally we remember the Benjamin Franklins who protested against pay for government service. Franklin's simple explanation, for what seems like an outlandish policy to our misled only-money-brings-good-service-generation, is that the "mean inducement of pecuniary satisfaction" attracted men of "ambition and avarice" to the helm of a sacred cause. Better he thought, to have men who serve for "the pleasure of doing good and [for the love of] their country." Inspired by this philosophy, the salary for congressional service was capped at $8.00 per day in session, from 1787 till 1855.

And so, as we go about our gift giving this Christmas season, and as we move forward this new year into a new millennium, we would do well to remember what true service to God, Family, and Country is all about. We should remember that Christ, and our forefathers whom he inspired, gave their all not for financial gain or cheap praise, but only because they sought "the pleasure of doing good," for God, for country, and for posterity.

Newsmax columnist Steve Farrell is the former managing editor of Right Magazine, a senior writer at Enter Stage Right, and a widely published research writer. His projects include his upcoming book "Democrats In Drag: Another Look at the Republican Party." Please send your comments, interview and speaking requests to Steve at

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